St Louis Immigration Attorney Jim Hacking Discusses IBM Settlement With Justice Department Over Discrimination Allegations

IBM has just settled a dispute that involved allegations that the company’s online job listings expressed a preference for foreign workers with temporary visas over U.S. citizens. While the Immigration and Nationality Act requires recruiters to comply with the law and prevent discrimination practices, this case shows that corporations are doing what they can to benefit them with vague laws.

IBM showing a preference for foreign workers

According to the lawsuit, the DOJ alleged that IBM’s job application postings for software developers clearly expressed citizenship preferences for foreigners who held student visas or H-1B visas. This is not allowed, as the company violated the anti-discrimination provision of the federal immigration law in the U.S. The Justice Department says this law protects both U.S. citizens and permanent residents against discrimination within the workplace. While many times immigration advocates file a suit against a business for preferring to hire U.S. citizens, this case illustrates the exact opposite occurring because of the nature of the job.

IBM fined and to report to government for two years

IBM reached a written settlement agreement and denied “any and all allegations of citizenship status discrimination in its hiring process.” IBM is set to pay out $44,000 in civil penalties and to revise their hiring and recruitment procedures so that they comply with the Immigration and Nationality Act. The company will be under supervision for the next two years and will have to issue company reports to the government.

While the Justice Department did not release many details about the job postings that violated the hiring and recruitment procedures, they did say that the listings were for positions that would require candidates to relocate overseas. IBM committed these violations between April 2009 to February 2013. “Employers must give all eligible candidates the equal opportunity to compete for employment,” said Jocelyn Samuels, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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